Learning for Humanitarian Leadership: What it is, how it works and future priorities

Author(s)
Ramalingam, B. and Mitchell, J.
Publication language
English
Pages
10pp
Date published
10 Nov 2022
Type
Research, reports and studies
Keywords
Leadership and Decisionmaking
Organisations

In the humanitarian sector, leadership is cited as one of the most important factors underpinning performance and effectiveness. Every major strategic and operational ambition – from addressing resource gaps to coordinating aid delivery to improving accountability to advancing localisation – demands the realisation of better leadership. And yet, at the same time, there does not seem to be a clear sense of what leadership actually is. Like the infamous judicial decision on obscenity, we only seem to know it when we see it.


This discussion paper sets out to answer three simple questions:
1. What is humanitarian leadership?
2. When it is effective, how does it work?
3. What should the future priorities for humanitarian leadership be?


The paper aims to address these questions by drawing on available evidence from different sources across the sector, together with the authors own reflections as long-time observers and analysts of humanitarian performance and effectiveness. The aim is to apply a learning lens to this critical issue and highlight some of the future priorities for humanitarian leadership.